Meles’ death made me weep for Nasir Abdo, the closest person Meles took away from me. Nasir was my mentor, best friend and a dear brother. He was arrested in 2004 falsely accused of terrorism. Among evidences used against him was a Western Union receipt for 50 bucks I sent him from Singapore to pay for rent. When I visited him in Maekelawi in 2005, he could not walk or talk as he was severely tortured. His torture ordeals was witnessed by his ones cellmate Bayissa Gemechu.After Red Cross made issue about his situation, he was transferred to Kality where he resumed his study and teaching the illiterate peasant prisoners. He later scored 4.0 on his 10th grade exam. In 2006 he sent me a list of books I should send him, one of them was Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom”. When I went to see him, I was surprised how much he changed. He was all smiling, talking about being offered scholarship by a private college, and the number of people he helped read and write.But misfortune hit him again when the a novel manuscript he was writing was discovered by the prison guards. According to his cellmates, he was taken away for three days. When he returned, he was all swollen up. They used the infamous torture method of hanging filled bottle on his testicles and left him locked over night, resulting in his dismemberment. He was also so badly beaten that his ribs were broken. Despite passionate plea by the fellow cellmates, he was denied medical attention for a week.Then they threw him out on the street. People who saw him rushed him to hospital where we learned that he had severe kidney infection and his other internal organs were rapidly failing. He was taken to Adama where his agony ended a week later. This is just a story of one Oromo who was tortured to death under Meles Zenawi’s leadership. Among publicly known cases of people who were tortured to death I could mention popular singers Usmayyoo Mussaa and Yosef Gammachu.
Today, as Meles’ family, friends and supporters cry over his death, I wipe for my good friend Nasir Abdo, whom Meles took away from me. I am not going to rejoice Meles’ death, I am just going to mourn my best friend!
I leave you with Nasir Abdo’s favorite song, Usmayyoo Mussaa’s “Sodaa Lubbuu”. Usmayyoo sings about his unwillingness to leave the country out of fear. As he declared, he stayed behind while many left, and after 8 years of incarceration without any charge he was ultimately tortured to death, never flinching from the cause of freedom.